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A State Curb the Ticket for Steel
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China will require export licenses for some steel products starting later this month, in another move which underscores the government's efforts to curb the swelling overseas sales that more than doubled last year.

Exporters of 83 categories of steel products, including hot-rolled coil, will have to apply for a license from May 20, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs said yesterday in a statement.

As the world's top steel maker, China turned into a net steel exporter last year for the first time since the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, with steel product exports more than doubling to more than 43 million tons on higher international

In the first quarter of this year, China exported 125.3 percent more steel at 14.13 million tons before the government reduced and removed export tax rebates on some products last month.

"More policy measures are likely going forward, which could include further adjustment of both domestic and external prices," Citigroup economist Shen Minggao said last month after China announced its latest rebate adjustment.

The exports add pressure on China's swelling trade surplus and have led to increasing trade friction. Since 2006, Chinese steel mills have been investigated over anti-dumping or anti-subsidy allegations in 27 cases in 11 countries.

Qi Xiangdong, deputy secretary-general of the China Iron and Steel Association, has said it's acceptable and healthy for China to export about 10 percent of its steel production, a ratio far lower than the global average.

(Shanghai Daily May 2, 2007)

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